Thursday, 26 November 2009

Prejudice and exclusion

Excuse the tone of today's blog but I am really fed up with dealing with people's blatant ignorance towards modern fitness pole dancing. I won't go into my usual rants as my regular readers will be more than educated about my feelings however for those of you who have not read my previous posts here are three that discuss my crusade to change peoples perception of modern fitness pole dancing:

Today's upset comes from a letter I received in the post today. Having struggled long and hard to make the art of dance financially viable I finally came to the conclusion that the only way forward was to register the art of dance as a community interest company, that status would have entitled us to grant funding, reduced business rates, improved credibility and many other benefits. However despite a lengthy cover note and a meeting with Business link to ensure I had covered all areas of the application I received this back from Companies House today:

"Although your application makes a passionate case for the positive aerobic and anerobic fitness training of pole dancing and improvement in certain participants' self esteem, you will no doubt be aware that certain sectors of society would question whether pole dancing ...... are appropriate activities for getting under 18's fit and building the self esteem of vulnerable young women, and for that reason I cannot at this stage, reach the conclusion that a reasonable person would think that The art of dance's activities are being carried out in the benefit of the community."

Although I have been invited to comment further and argue my case I do wonder if I will be wasting my time and energy. Whilst anyone who knows me or who has been involved with the art of dance will know exactly how much we do to help individuals and to work with charities and other local causes I doubt I will be able to change the mind of a person sat in an office reading about the art of dance. I am unsure how much longer the art of dance can trade effectively as a business with rising overheads and an economic climate that means many people can't afford lessons with us. If we could get grant funding we could work with so many more people and pursue many more goals but I fear that without any financial help we will fail to work with as many individuals as we would like to. Indeed the future looks bleak.

Plymouth is already known for having very high rental rates, the highest water bills in the country, high business rates and low wages, these factors are all contributory into why the art of dance is struggling financially. The C.I.C status would have had so many benefits for us and without it we will struggle to carry on. Despite my current negativity I am not one to give up easily and no doubt by tomorrow I will be digging my heels firmly into the ground, tackling companies house head on and continuing to try to move the business forward. Watch this space....

Stay healthy,

Sam x


Jenni said...

Hi Sam,
Really sorry to hear you didn't get approved for the CIC. So sad and I imagine so frustrating!

Really pleased to hear you aren't giving up though - running a small business is tough enough as it is, I can imagine it's even harder if you're trying to promote something that involves changing the public's perception.

I'm not affiliated with them in any way so this isn't advertising, but is a great resource and community for small business owners and a lot of help and support can be found there for all sorts of business questions. I'm sure they won't say no to another pole dancer either! Might be worth a look.

Good luck, I hope you get some good news soon :)

Jenni said...

Thanks Jenni, will take a look at the forum!

Sam x

Anonymous said...

You are casting pearls before swine my love. Keep at it, what you are doing is worthwhile and nobody ever did anything worthwhile without being criticised. You have more support than you realise. I think a petiton might be in order?

Karyn Pentecost said...

I feel your pain. I am the Owner and Founder of The Girls Room in Dallas, Texas. I too have been trying to break into new markets, specifically the wedding industry and they flat out refused to allow me to exhibit at their shows. They have preconceived notions that what I am doing is not fitness and see it as dirty. I will keep on keepin on with my fight to change people's perceptions. I wish you well in your cause. We will change minds one at a time.

Karyn Pentecost

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of your reasoning as well, most really,

but I think you guys are trying too hard to make a fitness thing some 'empowering women' thing. If I was the government I would not fund a local gym, even a non pole gym as a non-profit nor would I grant them gov money, unless they were educating and exercising the public for free or something. Just deal with it, you are a for-profit company. I hate to be a downer, just my opinion, but it's just fitness gym, gah,

darn good,challenging, and beautiful,

but still, it's just a girls gym, just advertise it as what it is,

Anonymous said...

btw, b4 u assume I am a cock, I am a girl, and I work out at the GR said...

FAO Karen, Thanks for your comments and keep fighting, we will get there in the end, Sam x

FAO Anonymous 2, I appreciate what you are saying but you would probably need to read the full business proposal to see what we are trying to do that sets us apart from a normal gym. You should also look at some of the waste of time projects that are getting government funding!

Thanks for your comments though as all feedback is good, Sam x